Prenatal yoga includes stretching, centering your mind and focusing with your breathing. It can be safe and offers many benefits for both pregnant women and the babies that they carry. Always check with your OB/GYN before starting any kind of exercise routine.
What are the potential benefits of prenatal yoga?
- Improved sleep
- Reduced stress
- Muscles used in childbirth are increased in strength and flexibility
- Decreased lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches and shortness of breath.
- Decreased risk of preterm labor, pregnancy-induced hypertension and intrauterine growth restriction.
Where can I find a prenatal yoga class?
Ask your OB/GYN for suggestions. Check with local health clubs. Contact businesses that specialize in yoga classes.
What does a prenatal yoga class look like?
While teachers and classes may vary some, a prenatal yoga class should include breathing, gentle stretching, positions, cool down, and relaxation.
- Breathing: Prenatal yoga breathing techniques should come in handy during labor and delivery. They can help you with shortness of breath as well as breathing through contractions. Prenatal yoga breathing focuses on breathing in and out slowly and fully through your nose. You might also practice various breathing techniques.
- Gentle stretching: You will learn how to gently move your body parts through a full range of motion. The focus is on doing this gently and slowly.
- Positions/postures: You will learn how to gently change positions that will help develop strength, flexibility and balance. Pillows or other props may be offered to provide support.
- Cool down and relax: Each prenatal yoga class should finish with relaxation movements as well as returning to your resting heart rate and breathing. You will learn to pay attention to your breathing, thoughts and emotions.
Other thoughts on prenatal yoga:
- Wear comfortable, breathable, non-constraining clothing for prenatal yoga.
- Make sure you are well hydrated.
- With prenatal yoga or any exercise routine, do not do anything that you feel is putting too much stress or strain on your body. Stay very aware of how you feel physically and emotionally. Do not hesitate to take a break, slow down, or stop.